Vital Signs

Economic Development

New Data from U.S. Census Shows (Mostly) Broad and Steady Employment Growth, Highlights Changing Nature of Bay Area Economy

Construction on the San Francisco Skyline
Karl Nielsen

The latest U.S. Census data from the 2016 County Business Patterns series shows continued overall growth for the nine-county Bay Area in employment as well as the number of business establishments. While the news is mostly good, the data also reveals some soft spots, and further highlights some of the disparities that have developed between different parts of the Bay Area, as well as between different industries.

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the latest data to look at:  

  • Bay Area Employment, or the number of employees as of the First Quarter of a given year, and
  • Bay Area Business Establishments. 

This data will be broken down by County, Bay Area Subregion, and Industry Sector. Data will be presented from 2005, 2015 and 2016. Tables will be followed by discussion and comments. For more information on the County Business Patterns annual release, visit the data series page the U.S. Census website. Read More

Policy

Chew on This: Federal Performance Targets (Comments Due by April 17, 2018)

Image of freeway congestion in the vicinity of Danville, CA.
Noah Berger
One of the performance targets under consideration measures traffic congestion, expressed as annual hours of peak-hour excessive delay per capita.

Here’s a question only a policy wonk could love: Should a performance target be achievable or aspirational? In other words, should it be based on current trends, or on desired outcomes? That question is at the heart of a position paper now circulating for review by MTC’s partners, stakeholders and the public. Read More

Transportation

"Why Do Bridges Fail?" Plus A Regional Good News Story

A bridge under construction
Karl Nielsen

The collapse earlier this month of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University (FIU) was shocking and upsetting for many reasons: six people lost their lives, the bridge had been intended to increase pedestrian safety, and there's a possibility that warning signs went unheeded.

But beyond the tragedy and fall-out, it also raises several questions: Why? What makes a bridge collapse? And what are conditions like for our bridges here in the Bay Area? Continue reading on to find out more. Read More

Housing

International Comparisons of Intergenerational Trends: Income, Labor, Housing and Wealth

Tokyo Skyline
According to a new report from the Resolution Foundation, Japan significantly increased its per-capita housing stock between 1990 and 2015. The United States, by contrast, lost ground over the same period. Image Credit: iStock/Getty, yongyuan.

Led by MTC and ABAG, Vital Signs is the Bay Area’s performance monitoring initiative, tracking key trends related to transportation, land and people, the economy, the environment and social equity.  Vital Signs puts data in local, regional and national context by evaluating indicators over time, examining differences between cities and counties, and comparing the Bay Area with other peer metropolitan areas. 

Sometimes, zooming out to the international level can be just as illuminating. This new report – International Comparisons of Intergenerational Trends – from the Resolution Foundation, a British think tank, is definitely worth a look. The report “explores the extent to which the UK’s generational living standards challenge is replicated in other high-income economies,” focusing on trends in income gains and losses, labor markets, and housing and wealth for younger adults and millennials. 

The report has lots of fascinating findings (key points excerpted in full below), but one particularly interesting data point concerns relatively low housing stock levels, especially among primarily English-speaking countries – all of whose younger generations, it should be noted, are facing major housing price pressures.  Read More

Transportation

Fatalities and Injuries From Crashes on the Rise, MTC Supports State Goal of Zero Traffic Deaths by 2030

injury

Bad news for the Bay Area’s pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers: the latest data from Vital Signs, the Bay Area’s comprehensive performance monitoring website, shows a sharp upward trend in road fatalities and injuries from roadway crashes.

There were 455 fatalities and 2,089 injuries from crashes in 2016, representing 43 percent and 25 percent increases from 2010, respectively. Although roads have become increasingly safe for motorists thanks to improved vehicle safety technologies, the data show that bicyclists and pedestrians are a growing share of fatalities and injuries in the region and are experiencing higher fatality levels compared to recent decades. Read More

Projects

Honors, Awards and Deals of the Year - Oh My! 2017 in Review

Atrium at the Bay Area Metro Center

As the year winds to a close, it's a good time to take stock of all the things we are grateful for. Here at the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), there is an across-the-board commitment to hard work and excellence at both the staff and leadership level. We are thankful for all of the following honors and awards bestowed on us in 2017 by peers and professional organizations.  Read More